Cover page by Robert C. Martin

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2. Saying No

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“Do; or do not. There is no trying.”

Yoda

In the early ’70s, I, and two of my nineteen-year-old friends were working on a real-time accounting system for the Teamster’s union in Chicago for a company named ASC. If names like Jimmy Hoffa come to mind, they should. You didn’t mess around with the teamsters in 1971.

Our system was supposed to go live by a certain date. A lot of money was riding on that date. Our team had been working 60-, 70-, and 80-hour weeks to try to hold to that schedule.

A week before the go-live date we finally got the system put together in its entirety. There were lots of bugs and issues to deal with, and we ...

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